Pulmonary Embolism

Working closely with your care team is important.

JoAnne M. Foody, MD, FACC, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief
Learn about Pulmonary Embolism

A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot in the lung. It happens when a clot that forms in another part of the body, usually the legs (see deep vein thrombosis), breaks away and travels through the veins to the lung. If the clot lodges in one or more of the arteries in the lung, it very suddenly blocks your blood flow. When this happens you may notice an unusual shortness of breath, have chest pain when breathing or begin coughing up blood.

Not everyone has symptoms, however. Many healthy people can develop a pulmonary embolism. Unfortunately, once you’ve had it, you’re also more likely to have the condition again. So it’s important to learn all you can, including the signs or symptoms of deep vein thrombosis.

If you think you have a pulmonary embolism, contact your doctor right away. It’s usually treated in the hospital. Your doctor might prescribe medication that thins your blood, helping to break up the clot and prevent new ones from forming. You may need to stay on this medication for a period of time. Be sure to talk with your doctor about the risk of bleeding, as well as other things you can do to lower the chances you’ll have another clot in your lung.

Use this condition center to learn more about pulmonary embolism, create a list of questions to ask your health care provider, and much more.

Pulmonary Embolism News & Events

Keeping Radiation to a Minimum for Heart Patients

Oct 10, 2014
With radiation exposure a hot topic in recent years, here are strategies for enhancing radiation safety in heart imaging.

Childhood Risk Factors Have Lifelong Impact on Heart Health

Oct 10, 2014
Weight and blood pressure during childhood have a long-lasting impact on heart function later in life.

Obesity Rates Plateau in U.S., but Waistlines Continue to Expand

Sep 24, 2014
More than half of American adults have abdominal obesity, according to national trends from the last decade.

Do You Know Your Heart-Health ABC's?

Sep 24, 2014
Improving heart health just got a little bit simpler, thanks to the ABC’s of heart disease prevention.

Self-Management Improves Outcomes for Patients with Heart Valve Implants

Sep 23, 2014
Empowering patients with heart valve implants to manage their own health reduces risk of complications, finds study.

Preventing Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Adults

Sep 19, 2014
A recent scientific statement weighed the pros and cons of using tests in healthy individuals between 12-25 years old.

Aspirin Offers Safe, Affordable Option to Prevent Blood Clots

Sep 12, 2014
A new study confirms that aspirin is a safe and effective treatment for patients with a history of venous thromboembolism.

Weight Watchers and Atkins Equally as Effective

Sep 05, 2014
There’s little difference between trademarked diet programs, finds new study.

Less Educated Smokers Have Greatest Stroke Risk

Sep 05, 2014
Traditional risk factors for stroke are especially dangerous in poorly educated adults, finds study.

Enter the "I am CardioSmart" Patient Contest

Sep 02, 2014

Tell us how you are living well with heart disease for a chance to win a trip to San Diego, CA.

Coca-Cola Family Track Walk in Richmond, VA

Aug 29, 2014
A fellow of the American College of Cardiology will be at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 6 to share tips on heart health and the benefits of an active lifestyle.

Heart Group Says E-Cigarettes Require Strict Regulation

Aug 28, 2014
Electronic cigarettes should be included in smoke-free air laws, according to the American Heart Association.

Folic Acid Deficiency Rare in U.S.

Aug 19, 2014
Study finds folic acid deficiency is extremely rare, making routine tests unnecessary in the general population.

All-in-One Pill to Prevent Heart Disease?

Aug 08, 2014
A polypill to prevent heart disease has the potential to save millions of lives, according to experts.

Sitting Too Much Diminishes Fitness Level

Aug 08, 2014
No matter how much you may exercise, sitting for long periods of time reduces fitness, finds study.

Staying Active and Reducing Sedentary Time Key to Combating Obesity

Aug 08, 2014
Study finds that increasing physical activity and limiting sedentary time is the best combination for obesity prevention.

Reducing Risk of Heart Complications During Surgery

Aug 01, 2014
New guidelines help doctors and patients make the best possible decisions related to non-cardiac surgery.

Reducing Health Disparities in Hispanics and Latinos

Jul 31, 2014
Hispanics in the U.S. face dramatic health disparities, according to a recently-released statement.

Short Runs May Help Adults Live Longer, Healthier Lives

Jul 29, 2014
According to a recent study, running just 5-10 minutes a day could have significant health benefits.

Heat Stroke, Not Sudden Cardiac Death, is Top Threat for Marathon Runners

Jul 28, 2014
Long distance running involves a slightly increased risk of death, with heat stroke being the main cause, finds study.

Minding Your Portions

Jul 28, 2014
Committing to a heart-healthy diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke or repeat events. This includes watching what you put on your plate.

Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women Encouraged to Increase Seafood Consumption

Jun 24, 2014
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency recently updated guidelines regarding seafood consumption for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

E-cigarettes Can Help Smokers Quit

Jun 23, 2014
E-cigarettes are as effective as the patch in helping smokers quit, finds study.

Heart Events Worsen Outcomes for Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Jun 23, 2014

Study highlights importance of heart disease prevention for patients with chronic kidney disease.

Are Diet Drinks on Par with Water for Losing Weight?

Jun 13, 2014
According to a new study, diet beverages could help people lose more weight than drinking water alone.

Get CardioSmart

You're Invited